Location, Location, Location
by Sarah Warlick, content director
Magnify your location!
What are the three most important things in real estate? Location, location and location! Everyone has heard that old adage, because though trite it is undoubtedly correct. And while professional services providers may not be as attuned to geography as those selling properties, they can and should still consider the many ways a focus on location can strengthen their firms’ success.
Your office is at a particular address for some combination of reasons: price, availability, proximity to home/clients/other professionals, personal preference, etc. Let’s consider your location to be fixed, because moving is an ordeal that makes one question whether it’s worth the hassle, no matter how good the new place may be. So you are where you are; now how can you make the best of it?
- Make it easy to find. You know those little maps on websites? Many folks love them. Others prefer to enter your address into their GPS. Still others like the verbal information. You won’t know potential visitors’ geographic processing style, so what should you do? Offer them everything! Definitely have a good, interactive map on your website – one that doesn’t demand entering an address for the privilege of manipulating the map to best effect. Put your street address on your business cards, brochures, web pages…just go ahead and put it on everything. Also include a very concise verbal description of your location (e.g. “just outside 285 at Pleasant Hill Drive” or “third building on the south side of Druid Hills, just east of Clairmont” where appropriate. Creating a mental map of your position in space is one more way to solidify your presence in the minds of those who might use your services. You want to help this process along at every opportunity.
- Make it easy to get there. You’re not in the construction business so there’s only so much you can do with big infrastructure like parking and buildings, but you can still make them work to their best advantage with things like:
- Large, easy-to-read signage visible from the street
- Easily identified paths to clearly marked parking spaces
- Clear, well maintained labels on buildings and doors
- Comfortable waiting areas
- A guaranteed welcome from someone who notices and seems to care when anyone enters the office
- Flowers outside, clean walkways, well kempt landscaping, plants inside, good lighting, fresh air (that doesn’t reek of chemical air fresheners) and all the other little touches that make a place feel pleasant rather than oppressive upon entering. The goal is to make people happy to arrive, not relieved when they leave.
- Make yourself at home. Even if most of your current clients drive to reach your office, becoming an integrated and valued part of the neighborhood is good business. Meet your neighbors by walking around (yes, outside!) and get in the habit of asking them to lunch once in a while. Host a barbecue or an open house with cake, watermelon or wine. This doesn’t need to be a big, expensive event, just a fun and casual way to make local connections and be remembered fondly. Hand out healthy treats to Trick-or-Treaters. Invite a pet rescue organization to host an adoption event in your parking lot. There are hundreds of creative ways you can take advantage of what’s special about your site or situation to build community and respect as a friend and neighbor. This is often the basis of new business, in addition to making life and work more enjoyable for everyone involved.
Each of these areas can be expanded and expounded on to a great degree, and with great effect! The main point is to recognize that your firm exists in a physical space as well as a professional landscape. Once you’re thinking in those terms, it’s natural to begin seeing the many ways you can make that location work for you.